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Many Happy Returns to Madiba

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Many Happy Returns to Madiba

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Nelson Mandela is celebrating his birthday. The man who devoted his life to bringing down the apartheid regime in South Africa, and who became the first president after its fall, is 90 today.

South Africa’s central bank has honoured Mandela by striking a coin featuring his portrait. The country’s Post Office has done the same with a series of stamps.

The man they affectionately call by his tribal name ‘Madiba’ has been lauded variously as the greatest statesman in South African history and an icon of humanity.

Along with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, Mandela founded the African National Congress Youth League in 1944.

He was among the first to advocate armed resitance, and underwent secret military training in Algeria. Mandela was jailed for five years on his return.

During that term, he was sentenced to life for conspiracy and sabotage. By the time he left Robben Island jail, he had been inside for 27 years.

The world said an early “happy birthday” to Nelson Mandela with a concert in London’s Hyde Park at the end of June.

He is spending the day itself in the South African village where he grew up.